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Regional Profiles: Economy - South West, May 2012

Released: 30 May 2012 Download PDF

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Correction Notice

Region and Country Profiles – Economy May 2012

A production error was discovered in the reference table download, originally published on 30 May 2012. This also affects the Regional Profiles (Summaries) for the North West and the South West

Within the table 'Subregional - business births and deaths', birth and death rates were calculated incorrectly. These figures were also included in the Regional Profiles for the North West and the South West.

This error has now been corrected.

ONS apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Business birth and death rates in the South West, 2010

Business birth and death rates in the South West and UK, 2010
Source: Office for National Statistics


  1. Birth and Death rates are expressed as a percentage of active enterprises

Download chart data

The South West has one of the highest employment rates among the English regions and countries of the UK. It has the lowest rates of business births and deaths.

The employment rate was 74.0 per cent in Q4 2011, compared with 70.3 per cent for the UK as a whole. The unemployment rate was one of the lowest of the regions at 6.1 per cent, compared with 8.4 per cent for the UK. Within the region, the model-based unemployment rate was lowest in Cotswold at 3.9 per cent and highest in Torbay unitary authority (UA) at 8.8 per cent for the year to September 2011. Investigate how unemployment rates have changed over time at regional level.

The South West had the lowest business birth and death rates at 9 per cent and 12 per cent respectively, in 2010. This compares with 10 per cent and 13 per cent respectively for the UK. Subregionally the highest business birth rate was in Swindon at 11.4 per cent and the highest business death rate was in Bournemouth UA at 15.0 per cent.

The South West is responsible for almost 8 per cent of the UK’s gross value added (GVA). The region’s headline GVA was £98.5 billion in 2010. The latest subregional data (2009) show that more than half of the region’s GVA was produced by the Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area, which includes Swindon.

Productivity, as measured by GVA per hour worked, was 92 per cent of the UK rate in 2010. Within the region, productivity ranged widely from Swindon (113 per cent of the UK rate) to Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (72 per cent) in 2009.

In 2009 the South West was responsible for 15 per cent of the UK’s agriculture and fishing GVA. However, this sector contributed just 1 per cent to the total GVA of the South West. The major contributors to the South West’s GVA were the wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles sector (12 per cent); manufacturing (11 per cent); and real estate activities (almost 9 per cent). GVA by industry in the UK interactive map allows users to see how other industries contribute to the GVA of the area.

Gross disposable household income (GDHI) of South West residents was the fourth highest among the English regions, at £15,700 per head in 2010. It ranged from £13,340 in Plymouth to £16,900 in Wiltshire.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Notes:

    The data section of this release provides more economic data.

    Employment, unemployment and economic inactivity rates are seasonally adjusted Labour Force Survey (LFS) headline indicators. Regional employment and economic inactivity rates are data for all people aged 16 to 64. Subregional data are from the Annual Population Survey (APS), October 2010-September 2011.

    Labour market indicators are defined in the Glossary.

    Local Labour Market webpage provides access to the latest releases for employment, unemployment, inactivity, claimant count and other labour market data.

    Model-Based Estimates of ILO Unemployment for LAD/UAs cover all people aged 16 or over.

    Business Demography 2010 includes definitions of active enterprises, births and deaths. Further releases for businesses by region are available.

    Gross Value Added (GVA) is a key measure of economic performance. The data are consistent with the headline workplace based series, which allocates the incomes of individuals to their place of work.

    Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath is a geographical area under the Nomenclature of Territorial Statistics NUTS classification.

    GVA per head interactive map shows how GVA varies relative to the population of an area. GVA per head is not a measure of productivity.

    Labour productivity webpage provides access to the latest releases. The Productivity handbook looks at measuring productivity at a regional level. The Subregional productivity March 2012 article provides analysis at a subregional level.

    Standard Industrial Classification 2007 (SIC2007) defines the industries.

    Gross disposable household income (GDHI) covers the income received by households and non profit-making institutions serving households and is net of tax payments.

  2. Source:

    All data are published by ONS.

  3. You may use or re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit the National Archives website or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email:

  4. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

Further information

Regional Trends, No. 42, 2010 Edition - Portrait of the South West (Pdf 1468Kb) - The Portrait of the South West presents a wide range of information covering infrastructure, demographic, environmental and economic statistics for the region.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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